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Sunday, July 8, 2018

There is little wisdom in Ikeda's Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra

Daisaku Ikeda says, “the Original Buddha is Shakyamuni” when talking to scholars and scientists but when talking to commoners, his “dear” SGI members, he sometimes says, “The Original Buddha is Nichiren”, and at other times he says that "ordinary people are the original Buddha". Why would anyone follow someone who speaks out of both sides of their mouth, especially when one side of his mouth goes against the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin? 

In his lecture on the Opening of the Eyes for SGI members, Ikeda states:

“This sentence implies that the Daishonin is the original Buddha, the master of all other buddhas. Because of this, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas follow him and all good fortune is contained within the original life The Daishonin used analogies most easily understood by the people of his day. Water gods were thought to live in rivers and followed the lord of the ocean, and the mountain gods were all subservient to Mount Sumeru, the king of mountains. In his analogy, the Daishonin likened these lesser gods to all the buddhas and Bodhisattvas; and the lord of the ocean and king of Mount Sumeru to the votary of the Lotus Sutra.”

But his public stance can be summarized in this article:

“Space and Eternal Life”, with the astronomer, Dr. Weiramisinghe, 1998:

“Buddha is in its simplest interpretation, means a person who is incomparably wise and fully enlightened. Sakyamuni was portrayed as a real human being who reached a state of enlightenment and eventually entered Nirvana. He was a royal prince born to a society torn with strife – poverty, caste and race discrimination were everywhere. His own early life was one of absolute luxury. He renounced this life to seek enlightenment. The fruit of his untiring efforts over the years was the realization of the true nature of things and the discovery of a path that could lead to freedom from suffering. The Buddha held that the cause of suffering is the result of wrong attitudes; it is our craving or desire that makes us suffer. Although Sakyamuni Buddha set out the Eightfold path that could free us from suffering, he often exhorted his monks to discover the way for themselves as for instance in his last words to his disciple Ananda in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra.

“Self is the lord of self, for who else could lord be? Be ye lamps unto yourselves. Look not for refuge to any beside yourself.” In response to Ananda’s entreaty to preach one last time, Sakyamuni speaks about being a beacon of self and of being a beacon of the Law. Sakyamuni taught that it is none other than one’s self and the Law that are the guiding lights that illuminate the darkness of life and death. And the true self referred to by Sakyamuni is the self realized in the course of one’s actions in accordance with the Law of the Universe and of life.

Sakyamuni also said, in a statement made just before his death, that since all phenomena are transient, one should diligently apply oneself to the perfection of one’s practice. His leaving behind such a statement perfectly demonstrates the special character of Buddhism, which points to the path of endeavour and diligence to perfect oneself as a human being and to achieve self-realization.

One calls one who has awakened to the truth of life and the universe a “Buddha”. It is thought that many Buddhas have appeared in this universe, expounded the Law and saved human lives. Mahayana Buddhism teaches that many Buddhas have made their advent.

Here I would like to follow the currents of Buddhist history from the death of Sakyamuni Buddha to the rise of Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhist records indicate that following Sakyamuni’s death, people’s respect and admiration for him deepened and questions arose about the meaning of his death, and from this developed the theory of the Buddha’s three bodies.

At first it was said that the Buddha , as the eternal and indestructible “body of the law” who is one with the law of life and the universe appeared in this world to save people in the physical form of Sakyamuni – in other words, as the “manifested” body. Later when the Buddha who jointly possessed the two kinds of body – “the body of the Law” and the “manifested body” – became widely revered, the idea of the “bliss body” or spiritual strength to perceive the truth, developed. And along with the theory of the bodies, or aspects of Buddhas, a theory evolved concerning the appearance of Buddhas. First the concept of past Buddhas developed, in which it was held that Sakyamuni and various other Buddhas also appeared in the past. Then the concept of future Buddhas developed, in which it is said that Bodhisattva Maitreya will be reborn in this world as a Buddha in the future. The concepts of Buddhas in other worlds and of becoming a Buddha in the next life also arose. For instance, Amitabha Buddha is said to dwell in the western region of the universe. Akshobya Buddha, in the eastern region of the universe, and bodhisattvas, to be reborn in the Tushita heaven before attaining Buddhahood. Finally a concept of present lifetime Buddhas took shape in which it is taught that Buddhas exist throughout the ten directions of the universe.

The Lotus Sutra is the scripture that incorporates and unites the theories of the three bodies of the Buddha and of the appearance of the Buddhas. This scripture is respected as a pivotal text in Japanese Buddhism and has many followers.

In the 16th and most important chapter, entitled “The Life Span of the Thus Come One”, Sakyamuni reveals that he has been a Buddha since the infinite past, that he has all along been preaching in this mundane world and leading people to enlightenment, and that he has appeared as various Buddhas in order to save all living beings and preached the Law in accord with his listener’s capacity. He states that the reason he is now about to leave this world is that, although the life span he has attained by practicing the bodhisattva way is of infinite duration, through the means of his death he can teach and instruct people.

Here, principally in the 16th chapter, the concept of the original Buddha of the remotest past is revealed. In connection with this concept, Tien-tai of China commented that because it is shown in the “Life Span” chapter that Sakyamuni has appeared as various Buddhas in response to the capacity of the people he will teach and enlighten, all the Buddhas who appear in Mahayana Buddhism are united in the one Buddha, Sakyamuni.

Based upon this Tien-tai called the Sakyamuni revealed in the “Life Span” chapter, the Original Buddha and stated that he simultaneously embodies the Law Body, the manifested body and the bliss body, and that he is the Buddha whose true nature lies in the bliss body aspect. In other words, the “Life Span” chapter identifies the historical personage of Sakyamuni as the Original Buddha, presenting him as the manifestation in historical reality of the suprahistorical or Original Buddha.

Accordingly it {the 16th chapter] teaches that the Buddha’s life span is infinite. This is the concept of the Original Buddha of the remotest past. The distinguishing characteristic of the Lotus is the fact that it unites all Buddhas in the Original Buddha and perceives eternal life or an infinite life span, in the person of the historical figure Sakyamuni.

In this way, the concept of the original Buddha of the remotest past revealed in the “Life Span” chapter incorporates and unifies the Mahayana concepts of the three bodies and of the appearance of Buddhas; this new concept clearly reveals the outstanding personality of Sakyamuni, who is endowed with both eternity and reality, and filled with great compassion to save the people.

Private Stance [for SGI Consumption]:

April 17 WT (1998), speech by Daisaku Ikeda delivered March 13, 1998:

“In contrast, this Gosho passage states that Shakyamuni Buddha resides in the hearts of those with sincere faith. Read in terms of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, “Shakyamuni’ here refers to the original Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin himself.” p. 12, right hand column.

And today, if you view the July 6, 2015 Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra lecture, 

he is teaching that the ordinary person is the Original Buddha.

As an aside, the SGI teachings on members surpassing the mentor is too ridiculous to even address. [please go to 9:10]

The latest SGI "wisdom academy" lecture on Ichinen Sanzen [3000 worlds in a moment of existence], contains the video of a young man who leaves the house angry and he encounters one angry person after another and an angry misfortune prone environment. The latter part of the video shows the same young man leaving the house with what SGI would terms a "high life condition" and everyone he meets is warm and friendly and the environment too take on the characteristics of a joy filled paradise. The point of the video is to demonstrate Ichinen Sanzen and its relationship to the Buddhist concept of the oneness of person and environment [Esho Funi]. The danger of said video is that it is not at all how Ichinen Sanzen functions. In fact, one who faithfully practices the Lotus Sutra will encounter the fury of the Three Obstacles and Four devils, one after another, and a multitude of people who despise and persecute the true votary [those with the "life condition" of Pure and Perfect Enlightenment, for example, Nichiren Daishonin and Bodhisattva Never Despise]. SGI teachings market a false reality that ensures that 95% of the sincere seekers of the way will abandon their faith because they had not been well prepared beforehand.

Watching the SGI video lecture on the Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra The Lifespan of the Tathagata, we see that it is superficial since it discusses only "the general' and fails to discuss "the specific". Also, it not only fails to lecture on The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra Chapter 16 to which it is entitled, "The Lifespan of the Tathagata" [jumping to Chapter 24 Bodhisattva Wonder Sound], it fails to touch upon the purported central point of the lecture, "Voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma". 

The SGI lecturers maintain that we choose to be born into various circumstances [highlighting unfavorable circumstances] in order to eventually win and demonstrate the greatness of the Mystic Law. They use as an example the Bodhisattva Wonder Sound from Chapter 24 of the Lotus Sutra and they [Ikeda] quote the Ongi Kuden forgery [rather than the Lotus Sutra itself or an authentic writing of the Daishonin]: 

"He [Bodhisattva Wonder Sound] manifests thirty-four different forms, illustrating the Mutual Possession of the Ten Worlds and preaching the Law so as to benefit others."

The Lotus Sutra states:

“Flower Virtue, you see only the body of Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound that is here. But this bodhisattva manifests himself in various different bodies and preaches this sutra for the sake of living beings in various different places. At times he appears as King Brahma, at times as the lord Shakra, at times as the heavenly being Freedom, at times as the heavenly being Great Freedom, at times as a great general of heaven, at times as the heavenly king Vaishravana, at times as a wheel-turning sage king, at times as one of the petty kings, at times as a rich man, at times as a householder, at times as a chief minister, at times as a Brahman, at times as a monk, a nun, a layman believer, or a laywoman believer, at times as the wife of a rich man or a householder, at times as the wife of a chief minister, at times as the wife of a Brahman, at times as a young boy or a young girl, at times as a heavenly being, a dragon, a yaksha, agandharva, an asura, a garuda, a kimnara, a mahoraga, a human or a nonhuman being, and so preaches this sutra. The hell dwellers, hungry spirits, beasts, and numerous others who are in difficult circumstances are thus all able to be saved. And for the sake of those who are in the women’s quarters of the royal palace, he changes himself into a woman’s form and preaches this sutra.

“Flower Virtue, this bodhisattva Wonderful Sound can save and protect the various living beings of the saha world. This bodhisattvaWonderful Sound performs various transformations, manifesting himself in different forms in this saha land and preaching this sutra for the sake of living beings, and yet his transcendental powers, his transformations, and his wisdom suffer no injury or diminution thereby. This bodhisattvaemploys various types of wisdom to illuminate the saha world, causing each one among all the living beings to acquire the appropriate understanding, and does the same in all the worlds in the ten directionsnumerous as Ganges sands.

“If the form of a voice-hearer is what is needed to bring salvation, he manifests himself in the form of a voice-hearer and proceeds to preach the Law. If the form of a pratyekabuddha will bring salvation, he manifests himself in the form of a pratyekabuddha and preaches the Law. If the form of a bodhisattva will bring salvation, he manifests abodhisattva form and preaches the Law. If the form of a buddha will bring salvation, he immediately manifests a buddha form and preaches the Law. Thus he manifests himself in various different forms, depending upon what is appropriate for salvation. And if it is appropriate to enter extinction in order to bring salvation, he manifests himself as entering extinction.

“Flower Virtue, the bodhisattva mahasattva Wonderful Sound has acquired the great transcendental powers and the power of wisdom that enable him to do all this!”

At that time the bodhisattva Flower Virtue said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, this bodhisattva Wonderful Sound has planted the roots of goodness very deeply. World-Honored One, what samadhidoes this bodhisattva dwell in, that he is able to carry out all these transformations and manifestations to save living beings?”

The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Flower Virtue, “Good man, this samadhi is called manifesting all kinds of bodies. The bodhisattvaWonderful Sound, dwelling in this samadhi, is able in this manner to enrich and benefit immeasurable living beings."

Question: What could be wrong with this, whether Ikeda or the lecturers quote the Ongi Kuden or the Lotus Sutra to make this valuable point?

Answer: This point is true from the perspective of the general, not the specific. The specific is the more profound viewpoint taught by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Lifespan Chapter:

"I [Shakyamuni] either preach my own body or preach the body of another or show my own body or show the body of another or show my own matter or show the matter of another. The various words I preach are all true and not empty. What is the reason? The Tathagata knows and sees the appearance of the Three Worlds in accordance with reality: there is no Birth-and-Death, whether backsliding or emerging; likewise there is neither existence in the world nor extinction; they are not real; they are not void, they are not thus; they are not different. It is not as the Three Worlds see the Three Worlds. In such a matter as this the Tathagata sees clearly and is without error."

Nichiren comments on this matter from the Lifespan Chapter in an authenticated writing:

"The oral tradition says that the Buddha can become grass and trees. This means that the Shakyamuni Buddha of the “Life Span” chapter can manifest himself in grass and trees. The Lotus Sutra speaks of “the Thus Come One’s secret and his transcendental powers.” There is nothing in the entire realm of phenomena that is not the manifestation of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni." (The Enlightenment of Plants)

From the perspective of the specific, the more enlightened perspective, Bodhisattva Wonder Sound too [and we] are manifestation of Shakyamuni Buddha. This is what the most profound chapter of the Lotus Sutra teaches and what the authentic Nichiren taught.

Actually, the selected passage refers to Nichiren Daishonin specifically and to us generally.

"Soka Gakkai Buddha"... conflates two of the Three Treasures [the Treasure of the Buddha and the Treasure of the Sangha]. Nowhere in the Lotus Sutra nor in the writings of Nichiren can we find the principle of Sangha-Buddha just as nowhere in the teachings is there the SGI concept of Bodhisattva-Buddha.

Ikeda is obsessed with acquiring the "32 features" but that is not appropriate for anyone else. Hypocrite!

"Namu Myoho renge kyo is the name of the Buddha of absolute freedom from time without beginning", here SGI conflates the Buddha with his teaching or Law. Nichiren has this to say about such men:

"The seventh volume of On 'Great Concentration and Insight' states: ‘Priests who concentrate on the written word’ refers to men who gain no inner insight or understanding through meditation, but concern themselves only with characteristics of the doctrine. ‘Zen masters who concentrate on practice’ refers to men who do not learn how to attain the truth and the corresponding wisdom, but fix their minds on the mere techniques of breath control. Theirs is the kind of [non-Buddhist] meditation that fundamentally still retains outflows. ‘Some Zen masters give all their attention to meditation alone’ means that, for the sake of discussion, T’ien-t’ai gives them a certain degree of recognition, but from a stricter viewpoint they lack both insight and understanding. The Zen men in the world today value only meditation [as the way to realize the truth] and have no familiarity with doctrinal teachings. In relying upon meditation alone, they interpret the sutras in their own way. They put together the eight errors and the eight winds, and talk about the Buddha as being sixteen feet in height. They lump together the five components and the three poisons, and call them the eight errors. They equate the six sense organs with the six transcendental powers, and the four elements with the four noble truths. To interpret the sutras in such an arbitrary manner is to be guilty of the greatest falsehood. Such nonsense is not even worth discussing.”

SGI is not protecting the teachings. They are merely protecting the Devedatta of the modern age, Daisaku Ikeda

"Thank you Sensei for giving us the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra." -- SGI cultmember

"Thank you Shakyamuni Buddha for giving us the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra." -- Nichiren Daishonin

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